Ancient fish thought to be larger than sharks was actually quite short

Dunkleosteus terrelli was an armoured predator fish with bladed jaws instead of teeth that lived 360 million years ago. Researchers thought it was a 9-metre-long giant but it may have actually have been half that size


28 February 2023

The fossilised skull of a Dunkleosteus

Russell Engelman

One of the earliest vertebrate apex predators may not have been a giant after all.

Dunkleosteus terrelli – often portrayed as a 9-metre-long, armoured, shark-like predatory fish with bladed jaws instead of teeth – may have been a much smaller animal, with odd, chunky, shortened proportions.

The nearly dozen known species of Dunkleosteus are arthrodires, a variety of early fishes that reached their heyday in the Devonian period, more than 360 million years ago. They had rugged armour plating covering their heads and the front half …


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *